Monday, March 21, 2011

Samsung's Solar Powered Television

With all the negative events happening in Libya and Japan, I found it pretty difficult to motivate myself to write something witty and meaningful about topics related to sustainability. Because of that, I gave myself a little bit of a break to research some interesting topics for the blog, so this week will be full of new material.

That brings us to today’s topic: Solar Powered Television

When I first saw this on twitter I thought to myself, “Wow, a television that is solar powered. That would be cool if it weren’t for the fact that the sun is outside and most televisions are inside.”

I was swiftly put in my place when I read on to discover that the televisions themselves did not actually require the sun to power them, but just ambient light in a room - much like calculators that we have been enjoying for the better part of 2.5 decades.

Samsung has been working on a prototype that operates almost completely independent from electrical outlets:
The 46″ prototype TV, shown at CeBit in Germany, includes solar panels that produce energy from the ambient light in a room – because it was engineered to use very little energy, no additional power sources are needed. Another major breakthrough behind the concept is that the thin screen can display images and information while allowing objects behind it to be visible.
This is fairly exciting because this technology will have applications that go far beyond televisions. Laptops, cellphones, car windshield HUDs, and anything else with a screen could benefit from this technology. Screens have classically been some of the most power hungry applications out there (just ask any smartphone), and with this technology, that level of electricity needed to power these devices can been sharply reduced.

Obviously, because this is a prototype, it is most likely a few years away from release, and even then the technology will probably be expensive - but like most new television releases, this price will drop and become more widespread after a short while.

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